The Visit (Part I)

A little over a week ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to photograph the recently completed home remodel of one of La Puerta Originals’ clients.  I was worried because we had been having horribly cold weather that was accompanied by dark, forbidding skies – nice for moody art photography, not so great for indoor photography.  But we were in luck – the day was clear and sunny, with a balmy high of 39 degrees predicted. Nestled in the mountains surrounding Santa Fe, the house was bright with skylights and really beautifully done. Unfortunately, I had not seen the house prior to the remodel, but, interestingly enough, it was a house La Puerta Originals had visited before. The entry gate and several interior doors were early LPO creations from over a decade ago.

We were graciously welcomed into the home and immediately struck by the pair of golden wings mounted in the entryway. They were a recent find at a local consignment shop, seemingly made for the space.  LPO did not make them, but, as I have said here ad nauseam, La Puerta Originals can build anything, so you too can have a jaw dropping pair of wings adorning your entryway, or bedroom wall, or portal…

Kitchen Cabinets - Stove HoodAfter I got over the wings, I, of course, had to start in the kitchen. Amazingly, though obviously not planned, since it came first, the focal point of the kitchen is the gold-leafed stove hood surround – a nice bit of continuity with the wings. When I processed the finished product photos of the stove hood last summer, I remember thinking that I would really like to see the kitchen it was for, since I would never have thought to put gold leaf in my kitchen. It is a really beautiful accent, not a theme and the effect is rather whimsical.

FP-9496-01-Stove Hood SurroundCreated from an antique, plaster coated and gold-leafed piece of crown moulding, it was originally a bright gold.

The finish was redone to include more of a copper coloring, making the finish more complex and quite elegant. Hmm…whimsical and elegant…quite a feat!

The wood flooring in the kitchen was done by LPO in a dark walnut stain. I would have thought that the contrast with the white-washed cabinets would have been too great, but the effect is that the floor just seems to disappear. The wood flooring is comfortable under foot and gives the room a more hushed quality than would tile.

The kitchen island, shown here without the stools, has two surfaces. The seating area has a solid wood countertop in a finish similar to the flooring, while the work area of the island is fitted with a poured concrete countertop.

The work side of the kitchen island is embellished with antique material – carved feet and decorative corner pieces. The solid wood cabinet and drawer fronts discretely conceal the inner workings –

the cabinet on the left end holds double waste receptacles, here one holds garbage, the other recycling, that glide out for easy access, the middle cabinet is actually a solid wood panel that fronts the dishwasher, and the right end houses a wine cooler.

Around the corner, at the end of the el, is a handy beverage refrigerator, again fronted with a solid wood panel, as well as an additional work surface.

The refrigerator front is fitted with solid wood panels that match the kitchen cabinets, with space made for the ice dispenser and covers up top for the access panels.

The matching kitchen pantry cabinet across the room lights up when opened, and, more importantly, shuts off several minutes after the doors are closed. It has shelving on the inside of the doors and rotating shelving that glides smoothly to reveal more storage at the rear.

Next to the pantry cabinet  is an alcove for the espresso machine and the occasionally used microwave.

The cabinet doors retract for more extended use of the espresso machine, and a handy shelf pulls out below the cabinet for an additional work/serving surface.

The kitchen cabinets on the cook wall are also decorated with antique carved finials as footing. To the right is the silverware drawer, inset with custom solid wood dividers.

The spaces are deep for plenty of storage with the centers cut lower, making for easy access when supplies are low.

Like many of the kitchen cabinets, the one below the silverware drawer is fitted with easy gliding shelves that bring the no man’s land of the back of the cabinet into plain view. I would definitely have had the lower shelf done in this manner as well – saves getting on your hands and knees to retrieve what’s at the back!

On either side of the stove are easy glide, pull-out pantry cabinets, keeping herbs & spices and other supplies within easy reach.

And, ah, beautiful knife storage, so easy to access. With sharpeners and other related supplies in the cubby at the front of the drawer.

I haven’t finished adjusting all of the photos, but I wanted to start with and show off the kitchen pics sooner rather than later. It is great fun to see everything installed and in working order. I love those moments when I recognize a piece that I had admired when it came out of the shop. Or, seeing a piece that I hadn’t really thought much about, but that, once in place, makes you go, “Wow, that’s great!”. Opening and closing drawers and cabinets, you can really feel the difference in custom, solid wood kitchen cabinetry. The substantial feel and even the sound convey a quality not found in factory-made kitchen cabinets. (It was the difference in the sound that I really noticed when I was closing my own (uncustom) kitchen cabinets later that day – more of a hollow clang than a nice solid thump.) The hand-rubbed finishes, the customization, the special touches like the stove hood, really make every La Puerta Originals kitchen unique and so special. I will post more pics as I work on them, but for now, here’s that fab stove hood again!

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